Appirio on the state of social at work: It needs more time

Appirio finds that collaboration and improved productivity are not really the top drivers for adopting social technologies in the workplace.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

As Salesforce.com's annual Dreamforce conference continues this week, Appirio has released a new report examining the state of social technologies in the workplace.

The bottom line is that the social enterprise/revolution/whatever-you-want-to-call-it concept has a long way to go before it is consider the de facto way of doing business.

Before that can happen, the concept of social enterprise might need to be defined better as a recent Bluewolf survey also concluded that many businesses still don't understand what this means exactly.

Overall, Appirio's results concur with those of Bluewolf. For example, nearly a third of businesses surveyed had no idea what the term "social enterprise" meant.

That doesn't mean that businesses aren't on-board with the idea of integrating social media throughout work infrastructures. Researchers found that more than 35 percent of respondents said their companies had set aside budgets or resources to make business processes more social. Furthermore, 57 percent of respondents said they currently use social tools to do their job.

Thinking realistically, that could be considered a decent start considering the social enterprise, defined or not, is still a rather nascent trend. When interviewed briefly by Salesforce.com's Peter Coffee on the center stage in the Dreamforce keynote hall on Wednesday, Ford's head of social media Scott Monty remarked how much social media in general has grown in the last four years.

Thus, it's shouldn't be surprising that many businesses are hesitant or even reluctant to adopt social media at work. According to Appirio's survey, 30 percent of respondents admitted a shift in company culture is the biggest hurdle on the way to becoming a social business.

Interestingly, even though Salesforce.com and other proponents of social enterprise who typically advertise collaboration and a boost to productivity as top reasons for implementing social technologies, Appirio's researchers found the truth behind why businesses are most intrigued by the shift: an impact on sales.

As seen in the graphic below, nearly a third of both employees and managers think that social media could help attract new customers, while collaboration is only the third-best reason behind engaging existing customers.


For reference, Appirio surveyed over 300 employees and managers across the United States and the United Kingdom from companies with more than 100 people across a variety of industries.

Image via Appirio

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